It’s Not Just the Cholesterol That Scrambles Your Health
One of my most stomach-churning childhood experiences was cracking an egg for cooking and finding a partially formed chick fetus inside. I screamed in horror and threw it in the trash. No one else was in the kitchen with me. I learned at that point that it’s pointless to ask “which came first, the chicken or the egg?”
In fact, chickens and eggs are interchangeable. An egg is a disassembled chick, since everything needed to form the baby bird is inside the egg. The shell forms a casing that allows the contents of the egg, under proper conditions, to rearrange themselves into a baby bird who will hatch and grow into a reproducing member of his or her species.
The hideous conditions of chickens on factory farms has been widely reported, so many aim to eat supposedly “kinder” eggs that are labeled “free range” or “cage free” or a similar soothing label. These terms are not regulated and have no meaning. Most often, chickens suffer terribly to lay these eggs for commercial production. The laying hens must be replaced, and the male chicks who hatch to replace them are killed at birth since they have no profitable use. Often the tiny babies are ground up alive.
Still, some insist they get their eggs from rescued chickens who are treated like much-loved pets. What could be wrong with that? For starters, these eggs have the potential to harm your health and weight, just as all eggs do. Here are seven reasons to choose a non-egg breakfast.
ONE. The USDA National Nutrient Database records that a whole, cooked, hard-boiled egg has 155 calories, no fiber, and 10.6 grams of fat. Of this, about a third is saturated fat. Since the egg has no fiber, it
will activate your stomach’s stretch receptors for fullness only to the extent of the volume of the egg itself, which is pretty small considering your stomach is a bit bigger than a liter. You could get so many more nutrients and satisfaction from fiber by eating 155 calories of whole plant foods, such as apples, black beans, or brown rice.
TWO. Eggs contribute almost as much to the growth of plaque blocking your arteries as smoking does, according to a 2012 study. This study focused on egg yolks, and found that yolk consumption accelerated the development of the deadly plaque that causes heart attacks and strokes.
THREE. Eating eggs measurably increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. For example, a recent study found that eating 3 to 5 eggs a week doubled the chances of becoming diabetic, and those eating 5 or more eggs a week had three times the risk of this deadly disease.
FOUR. The incidence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is soaring. The fats in eggs may directly harm your liver, contributing to cell death, inflammation, and eventually deadly liver cirrhosis. The cholesterol concentrated in egg yolk can directly harm your liver as well.
FIVE. Endotoxins, which can cause destructive inflammation in your body, are poisonous substances in bacteria that are released when the bacteria die. This inflammation fuels cardiovascular disease and chronic illnesses ranging from headaches to arthritis to autoimmune disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. Fat helps transports endotoxins into your body – and recall that eggs are high in fat.
SIX. Got salmonella, a disease-causing bacteria that causes nasty food poisoning? Salmonella bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), are frequently found on the outside as well as on the inside of eggs. The CDC recommends eating only thoroughly cooked eggs and tells you to “wash hands and all food contact surface areas (counter tops, utensils, dishes, and cutting boards) with soap and water
after contact with raw eggs. Then disinfect the food contact surfaces using a sanitizing agent, such as bleach, following label instructions.” Do you really want to go to all this trouble every time you touch an egg, or have something so full of bacteria in your refrigerator?
SEVEN. Don’t think you are home clear if you just eat egg whites, which have no cholesterol. Instead, egg whites are dense sources of animal protein, which itself directly raises cholesterol. The body sees bits of absorbed egg protein as a foreign invader, which can activate your immune system, again directly increasing inflammation and the risk of chronic illness.
Forget being plagued by indecision in trying to chose the “kindest” egg or justifying to yourself eating the reproductive materials of rescued birds. When you consider your own health, you’ll choose scrambled tofu with veggies for breakfast instead of scrambled eggs. With just the right amount of turmeric, the tofu has a
color virtually identical to eggs and is delicious. Recipes abound online for this delight, and well as animal-free pancakes, waffles, French toast, and other breakfast choices. For baking, search for plant-based egg replacements, which are numerous, and all healthier and lower calorie than eggs are.
Chicks, whether assembled into birds or disassembled in eggs, are not an appetizing or health promoting food. Give them up for a few weeks, give your tastes a transition period to change, and you’ll see what I mean. A whole foods, plant-based diet can quickly become your first choice. Your body will thank you, and so will the birds.
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Blog posting by Janice Stanger, Ph.D. Janice authored The Perfect Formula Diet: How to Lose Weight and Get Healthy Now With Six Kinds of Whole Foods. The book describes a simple diet built on whole plant foods that can prevent, and even reverse, most chronic disease. Janice has not eaten eggs since 2000, and is relieved and happy to be free of this gooey food.